"Illegal Children": Metaphors and Terminology Used In Newspaper Coverage of Central American Minors During Summer 2014
AuthorReynolds, Christa Elise
AdvisorGonzález de Bustamante, Celeste
Committee ChairGonzález de Bustamante, Celeste
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe language used in newspaper articles affects the way readers internalize issues presented; thus, when negative language is used, readers' perceptions of issues may be influenced negatively. One issue for which language and word choice are particularly important is immigration, and historically, reporters have employed a variety of metaphors while writing about immigration in the United States. During the summer of 2014, there was a noticeable outpouring of newspaper coverage relating to thousands of unaccompanied Central American minors crossing undocumented to the United States. Although undocumented migration from Central American has been a common occurrence for decades, the number of children crossing during this time period was unusual. Through the conceptual frameworks of "othering" and moral geographies, this study uses content analysis to identify terminology and metaphors used in local newspapers close to the U.S.-Mexico border, state-wide coverage along the U.S.-Mexico border, and two national newspapers. Water-related metaphors were the most frequently used type of metaphor. There was no correlation between the perspective of the article toward the migrants and the use of metaphors. Thus, newspaper articles present metaphors as neutral terms, although the connotation of these metaphors may be very negative, implying danger or harm. This demonstrates an underlying contradiction between neutral newspaper coverage of an issue, such as immigration, and charged language, which can lead readers to visualize immigrants as dangers to communities and lifestyles, perpetuating the idea of immigrants as "others" who threaten societal norms, even while reading an article that is not overtly negative.
Degree ProgramGraduate College